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Aircraft Band Receiver 


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Aircraft Band Receiver 

Written By: Steve Hobley 



Small phillips and flat bladed 
screwdriver (1) 


Analoa AM/FM receiver (1) 
from RadioShack. Make sure to aet 
yourself a receiver with an analoa dial, 
not an LCD tunina display. 


The FM radio band (88-108 MHz) lies just below the Civil Aviation Band (108-138 MHz), 
which is used for air traffic control, air shows, and other ground-to-air communications. This 
means that it's easy to modify an ordinary analog AM/FM radio to receive these 

Check out more Weekend Projects . 

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Aircraft Band Receiver 

Step 1 — Get Yourself an Analog Portable Radio 


• Pick an older style AM/FM radio 
with a traditional tuning dial, not 
one with a synthesized tuner. 

• For our project here we're 
using the venerable 
RadioShack AM/FM Pocket Radio. 
(As of 1 1/9/12 the RadioShack 
Pocket Radio no longer uses 
analog tuning, It has the tradional 
dial, but now uses digital tuning. 
The copper loops referenced in the 
rest of the project no longer apply.) 

Step 2 — Remove the Back Panel 

• Remove the screws from the back 
of your radio and gently pry open 
the casing. 

• Case screws to consumer 
electronics can frequently 
be found inside of the battery 
compartment, so make sure to look 
there if your case isn't coming 
apart when you think you've 
removed all of the screws. 

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Aircraft Band Receiver 

Step 3 — Locate the Coils 

• Identify the three copper-colored 
coils (circled here in red) and the 
two tuning transformers (shown in 
the blue boxes). 

• FYI: That clear plastic box 
to the left of the coils is the 
radio's tuning capacitor. Move the 
dial around on the front of the radio 
and you'll see its parts move inside 
the clear case. 

Step 4 — Adjust the coils 

• Switch the radio on and set it to FM 
reception. Tune to a station high on 
the dial, as close as you can to 108 

• Using a flat screwdriver, slowly 
expand the coil windings on all 
three coils. 

• You should notice the tuned radio 
station is moving slowly down the 
dial. This is good, as we are 
expanding the reception range of 
the radio in the band above 108 

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Aircraft Band Receiver 

Step 5 — Test it Out 

• Retune the radio and check that the 
original station is still available, but 
lower down on the dial. 

• In the picture you can see that the 
station around 108 MHz has now 
moved down to the location marked 
101 MHz on the dial. 

• The final step is to turn the radio 
dial in-between stations, so that all 
you hear is hiss. Now adjust the 
tuning transformers so that this 
hiss is at the loudest possible 

• Congratulations! The modifications 
are complete. Put the case back on 
and let's pay a visit to the local 
airport to try it out. 

• Get as close to the tower as you 
can, and tune the dial in the new 
extended region you just created. 
When planes are in the area, you 
should be able to pick up their 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-12 11 :1 3:1 8 PM. 

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